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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris announced the launch of a new portal system that will act as a waiting list for those interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently, the Shelby County Health Department receives a limited number of vaccines from the state and there is no surplus available. As they get more vaccines, the surplus will be given to those who sign up for the Shelby County VaxQueue.

The VaxQueue should be thought of as a standby line. It’s not a guarantee that you will receive a vaccine and there will probably be a long wait, Harris said.

“And so that’s what we’re opening up today is a standby list that will be operationalized and useful should more vaccine supply open,” Harris said.

If the health department has surplus, they will notify those individuals in the VaxQueue that they may register for an appointment.

“The hope is that this will give the health department the ability to reach out in a more pinpoint way to give notice of any changes in vaccine supply,” Harris said.

The demand for vaccine in the metro area is so great that Tuesday morning the Shelby County Health Department released an email saying they had limited vaccine appointments available. Within minutes, those slots were filled.

The health department is currently working to get everyone in the 1a1 and 1a2 priority groups, funeral home staff, those 65 years of age with medical conditions and those over 75 vaccinated. This week they are also working to get appointments set up for those individuals who have already been given their fist vaccine and need their second.

To date, more than 39,000 people have received the vaccine. Roughly 30,000 of those have recieved the first shot and 9,000 have received the second.

Latest data

The Shelby County Health Department reported 80,991 total cases and 221 new cases Tuesday morning.

There have been 1,202 deaths. The health department says eight new deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The deaths account for 1.5% of all cases in Shelby County.

While the elderly are most likely to die, health officials say people between 20 and 50 years of age are most likely to get the virus and spread it.

The number of cases considered recovered is 74,905, or 92.5%. There are 4,884 known active cases, which accounts for 6.0%.

Usage of local Acute Care and ICU beds was 88% and 91% respectively as of January 25. There are 391 COVID patients in the hospital.